Thursday, September 19, 2013

Krzysztof Urbanski lengthens his association with the ISO

Krzysztof Urbanski, the 30-year-old Polish conductor who continues to build a reputation for himself here and abroad, has agreed to link that growing acclaim to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for three years beyond his current contract.

Krzysztof Urbanski in action, photographed by his wife, Joanna.
The ISO announced today that Urbanski has signed a new agreement that will keep him here as music director through the 2017-18 season. The announcement comes on the brink of the 2013-14 season's debut Friday night in a gala concert featuring violin soloist Hilary Hahn.

No terms of the new contract were revealed in the announcement, but director of communications Jessica Di Santo said some details, like the number of weeks Urbanski will be in residence here, are still being worked out. In the final year of his current contract (2014-15), he is due to be in town 10 weeks. His other obligation to music in Indiana — an adjunct professorship at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University —  involves a separate agreement.

Advance sales for 2013-14 stand at "more than 10 percent above last year in classical subscriptions," according to Di Santo, a sign that Urbanski has connected with Indianapolis audiences since beginning his tenure here in 2011.

During that time, Urbanski has presided over the hiring of four ISO musicians, including two principals: Jennifer Christen (oboe) and Ryan Beach (trumpet).  He conducted the world premiere of William Bolcom's "Games and Challenges" last spring, featuring ISO ensemble in residence Time for Three. In contrast, he was on the sidelines during last year's tense contract negotiations, including a lockout, with the ISO musicians — the usual position for a music director in such cases.

When in town, Urbanski and his wife, Joanna, live in an apartment downtown. His duties elsewhere include the music directorship of the Trondheim (Norway) Symphony Orchestra and a post as principal guest conductor of the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra. Upcoming guest-conducting engagements include the Berlin Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

He continues to be a major advocate for music by his Polish compatriots both here and abroad: In November, he will participate in an internationally televised concert in Warsaw celebrating the 80th birthday of composer Krzysztof Penderecki, sharing podium duties with Charles Dutoit and Valery Gergiev.

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